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Atlas : Empire – The Stratosphere Beaneath Our Feet


1. As Yet Unwritten

2. Diminishing Returns

3. It’s All In The Reflexes

4. The Moment We Were Exploding

5. Gethsemane

6. The Entire History Of You

7. Hostess

8. The Year Of The Four Emperors

9. Our Hands Part The Waves

10. Cenotaphs

Atlas : Empire are a Scottish three piece Alt-Post-Rock band who, after forming in 2011 have released their first full length album upon the world with 'The Stratosphere Beneath Our Feet'.

And on first listen, from the first track, I was hooked. I always find it hard to describe the sound of a band, and I’d normally hate to form comparisons with other bands to make a point, but the best way I can think of to describe this album is that it sounds like a more-experimental, rockier version of Muse.

(That description will annoy both Muse fans and Atlas:Empire fans alike, I am sure, but it’s the best I can do).

'The Stratosphere Beneath Our Feet' is a concept album, and I feel the best way to describe the story it tells is to use the band’s own words:

“[it].. is a concept record, centralized around humanity’s growing reliance on technology, and how this impacts our ability to have organic interaction and genuine communication. It explores how a society – dehumanised and disconnected – falls into disarray when this reliance is suddenly removed.

Each song is written from a new perspective, and the experiences each new person goes through, both before and after this mass technological collapse”

This approach, where each song is written from a new perspective, means that the album can embrace a number of tones and styles, bringing a variety to it whilst not causing it to be disjointed in any way. It is definitely an album that is best listened to as intended, from start to finish. There are lots of callbacks throughout the album – riffs from one song will play in the background of others, and there is a definite coherence that is somewhat rare in albums nowadays.

Now that’s not to say that there aren’t some stand out songs – there definitely are. ‘As Yet Unwritten’ (the opening track) rocks you hard, and ‘The Moment We Were Exploding’ is a sonic assault that I was exceedingly happy to be attacked by. Then, in an immediate change of pace, you are introduced to the soothing, slow yet slightly uneasy feel of 'Gethsemane', which definitely transports you to another world, whether you are listening to the lyrics in depth or just basking in the atmosphere of the song.

It’s not a perfect album, as the occasional track does drift on too long, and there are a couple that peter out rather than ending on a solid note, but all in all it’s an album that is very much deserving of your time.

This is an incredibly polished and well-crafted album and they feel like a band on their fourth or fifth album, rather than their first. All I can say is that they deserve great things, and I hope that this album finds an appreciative audience. I will certainly be looking out for Atlas : Empire in future, and I advise you all to do the same.

Review - Michael Braunton

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